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I Can Make You Tory

at Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

* * - - -

Uneven set gets right-leaning comic off to a shaky start to the Fringe

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Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

The Gothic Room at Three Sisters is a large room to fill and Leo Kearse wastes no time in advising his audience to make it as cosy as possible. Kearse’s presence is enough to ensure that they acquiesce and so the UK pun champion embarks on a set that steers clear of punnery at least for a while.

For a theme as divisive as this, one might expect a meticulously prepared combination of facts and analysis akin to a comedic TED talk but Kearse is clearly distracted and admits as much, referring to the presence of chatting staff in corners of the room. Opening observations connecting his early Scottish experience and hippy upbringing are well received, but do not elicit much more than smiles and chuckles.

Moving to London and working in IT for various elements of the state apparatus led to a re-examination of ideology and this, coupled with the proliferation of leftist leanings within comedy, is what he attributes his political transformation to. Curiously, the requisite conviction is absent and his deconstruction of socialist values and reappraisal of capitalism through a comedic lens is reduced to arbitrary and flimsy statistics about the safety of nuclear power and a celebration of materialism.

A brief anecdote about Scottish and Irish peasantry being co-opted into the slave trade triggers a series of departures which combined with the intrusions from staff begins to grate and he staggers through his bullet-points, at one point reading from forum discussions he has engaged in on his phone. This gambit could have provided a modicum of redemption if Kearse engaged in any interaction with the small group but this was clearly not factored into the material.

All artifice gone, he reverts to some older material (the disparity between women and men’s sexual expectations magnified through drunken coupling) and as the uneven set grinds to a halt, Kearse explains that he will be better tomorrow which on this disappointing evidence seems to be a certainty.